Alex Head is a (relatively) new kid on the block, having set up Head Wines just 12 years ago, but he has risen very quickly to become a widely respected winemaker. Alex has always had a passion for "Old World" wines, particularly those of the Northern Rhone, and it is Shiraz that holds a special place in his heart. For Alex's unique Barossa Valley wines, he selects vineyard sites where, similar to Cote Rotie in France, the soils produce contrasting styles of Shiraz.
'The Redhead' 2016 comes from a high elevation vineyard in Flaxman's Valley, which consists of shallow rocky soils over clay that gives very low yields and intense levels of tannin. Made only in exceptional years, the last vintage of this wine was 2012. Only 100 dozen were made, so make sure you don't miss out!
A long time coming is the wine to complete the trio of hair colour series Shiraz wines. The fruit was sourced from three rows of old vine Shiraz near the town of Angaston in the Eden Valley. Fermented with 2/3 whole-bunches over a 3 week period with daily manual pigeage. Elevaged for two years in thick staved Demi-Muids of which two thirds were new. Only bottled when Mother Nature permits the length of flavour (the one thing I cannot create).
A deep and dark fruited Shiraz for Alex Head, with an ironstone-like ferrous note and earthen edge to the plush fruit.
Head Wines was started in 2006 by Alex Head. It focuses on single site Rhone varietals from the Barossa and Eden Valleys in South Australia. The ‘House Style’ is one of elegance, freshness, balance and purity of fruit attained by slow-winemaking and careful, gentle attention during maturation. Head Wines quickly achieved a Halliday 5 Star Rating, Top 10 New Wineries to Watch and numerous Top 100 Wines. All vineyards are farmed sustainably using organic principles where possible. Yields are low/controlled and grapes are hand-picked. The ferments use indigenous yeasts with some retention of stems. Minimal sulphur is used during the whole wine-making process and bottling is without fining or filtration.
What a delightful nose. Although it's fresh, it also incorporates some real complexity. Brambly nuances are matched with just-picked blueberries, crushed violets, clay, rust, mahogany and orange zest. The tight and steely tannin structure easily supports the layers of blue and darker fruit, which sweep fresh and long through a palate of real depth and finesse. A mineral yet chewy finish. Hard to resist now, but drink in 2025.'
JANE FAULKNER - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
The Redhead makes its return after a 4-year hiatus, from an organically farmed Eden Valley site, average age of vines about 15 years, 490m elevation. The initial strong clove note alongside green walnuts unfurls to allow the flood of flavour to encompass those, and offer sweet red and black plums, licorice, dark chocolate with some Mediterranean herbs. The compact palate is so detailed, ripped with energy and persimmon-like tannins, but needs more time in bottle. With only 100 dozen made, get in quick.'
HUON HOOKE - THE REAL REVIEW
Medium to deep red colour with subtle purple tints and a very smoky, earthy savoury bouquet with oaky overtones and some spice. The wine is full-bodied and rich, deep and savoury again, with ample firm tannins. The density and fleshiness are superb, and the aftertaste lingers on and on. A more elegant, less 'big' style than Barossa floor. Lovely drink.'
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
Silky smooth, spicy, plush and packed with red and black fruits, sage and dried mint, some grilled meat in there too. It's dense, but not heavy, with a beautiful set of milk chocolate tannin that coats the mouth, gently, fine and even acidity, and a nutty vanillin and dried herb perfumed aftertaste that carries very long. Beautiful wine. Fine and elegant, to use an over-used description.'